Thursday, May 9, 2013

may days

Finally, warmer weather is starting to arrive. Time to plant spring flowers, sweep the porch, and 'Murphy' oil the furniture. It's been a loong time coming...

We've had a record amount of rainfall and more than our share of cold blustery days. 
I'm beyond ready for a little sunshine. 

I defaulted to my usual up front. There are definitely certain things you can count on, like pansies. 

Stopped in at a couple of antique stores, when we drove north to take the boat out of winter storage.
Found a sweet grandmother's garden hexie quilt, some ruffly crocheted potholders, and a vintage Beswick conserve pot. 

Instead of jam, I filled it with a little rainbow sugar. 

Speaking of sweetness, thank you for all of your kind messages and notes inquiring as to how we're doing. Rosie is feeling much better, but still has some tough days. Hopefully, we'll be able to get her into remission soon. The girls are busy with end-of-the-year award dinners, musicals, dance recitals, and more. And, Miss Maggie has a date to the prom next weekend and a birthday. Sweet days ahead.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

a rosie update

Rosie is home from the hospital, recovering and resuming her routine. It's going to take a while. She's been diagnosed with a serious autoimmune disease, and unfortunately it's complicated. Part of her treatment, caused more problems. Luckily, she's still smiling. I wish I could tell you all about it and fill you in on the details over a nice cup of tea. 

Know that I'm grateful. For all of your prayers and good wishes, the skilled nurses, knowledgeable doctors, the brand new children's hospital,  and 'beyond' helpful family and friends. I have so much to be thankful for...


Sunday, March 3, 2013

prayers needed

Our little Rosie is going through a rough time. She's in the hospital again, dealing with some tough circumstances. If you could please keep her in your thoughts and prayers (especially on Monday), I'd really appreciate it. 

Thank you so much for your help.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

farewell, february

Well, if you put a bunting over your front door, spelling out the words, 'SPRING', while it's still February in the Midwest...

You're really asking for it.

 And, that's exactly what happened. I took all of the Valentine's day things down, and decided to skip over St. Pat's and head right to the Easter things. Next thing you know...

Another winter storm.

All right, already. Enough. I'm over it.

Bring on the daffodils!

Ran into HomeGoods the other day. Spotted a little creamer with a sweet strawberry motif, and a bird/perch sugar. I don't think they're from the same line, but that's okay. Maybe a little bit spring-like?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

love is in the air

The older girls went to a dance the other night. A turnabout dance, or as some schools call it, ladies' choice.

Who to ask? How to ask? Will he say yes? What to wear? What about my friends and their dates, will they all get along? Should we go out to dinner beforehand? After party, yes or no?

All questions thoroughly in need of discussion.

I don't know if you've had an occasion to look for winter formal dresses recently? Let alone one suitable for a fourteen year-old or a sixteen year-old? There isn't much out there. Well, there is, if you're keen on poorly made dresses that leave little to the imagination. Peek-a-boo cut-outs? 

This mom, for one, is not a fan.

Trusting an old favorite, J Crew, I gave them a call. They didn't disappoint. All silk, well made, with free overnight delivery, and in our favorite shades of navy blue. So happy not to spend hours fruitlessly searching the mall.

The younger sisters loved getting in on the action, helping with make-up, hair-dos, and choosing just the right accessories. Their excitement when the doorbell rang, knew no bounds.

One of the dates arrived bearing tulips, a Starbucks gift card, a charming smile, and his mom. It really was one of the sweetest things ever.

So happy they were all happy! At least for one night.

This year, Rosie is giving out valentines that say, 'love is in the air!' with a tiny bottles of bubbles. I'm helping with her kindergarten party. I can't wait.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

retail therapy

It's been snowing and sleeting all day today. The sky is dark and angry. 

Inside, however, it's a different story...

The postman just delivered a package filled with happiness.

Never underestimate the power of retail therapy. It absolutely works, when practiced in moderation. 

My mom needed a pick-me-up. A new bag, is my best prescription. Filling it with a bunch of bright accessories, makes it twice as effective.

Anything, to see her smile. 

I'm fully cognizant of the transitory nature of this type of therapy. It's going to take a lot more than that to keep the smile on her face. But, at least it's a start.

Monday, February 4, 2013

kindness personified

Can I tell you how much I enjoyed reading all of the comments on my last post? From baking cookies, sending cards, volunteering, working with children, and making hats for preemies, you're all kindness personified.

"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.' ~Aesop

Without further ado, the winner of the give-away is....

Laurie, from Magpie Ethelwho wrote...

'Hugs to you and your family.
I bring my elderly neighbors garbage cans in and out each week for garbage service. He never has to worry about it and it's easy for me to do.
p.s. am a follower..a happy follower!'

I also wanted to express my gratitude to the numerous friends, both near and far, who were kind enough to vote for me in the Circle of Mom's Top 25 Creative Moms. Would you believe I came out on top? I'm finding it hard to believe myself. I couldn't have done it without you. Thank you so much for your help!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

you're a sweetheart, give-away

Last week, my sister and I sat with my mom in the hospital while she slowly recovered. She was so sick. Her new iPad from Christmas kept 'chiming' with an amazing overflow of love. People who cared passed the word. Messages and emails from friends near and far, some from grade school, high school, college, and the old neighborhood, all sent their love, support, and prayers. Each and every one of them put a smile on my heartbroken mom's face.

Many spoke of how kind my dad was to them, how he went out of his way to listen, and really get to know them...

And, so many sweet friends stepped in to help my husband with the girls while I was in Florida. Delicious dinners arrived, rides to-and-from activities were provided, phone calls aplenty, heart-felt cards, afternoons spent baking, and even help with an important doctor's appointment.

When I shared the news about my dad here, all of your sweet comments really touched my heart. My mom read them all, and was amazed that people all over the world cared so much.

As Valentine's Day is swiftly approaching, I think it's time for me to express my gratitude. I've a bunch of crafty supplies just waiting for your Valentine crafts. Heart shaped doilies, cute striped paper straws, vintage 'inspired' valentines, a pack of pretty buttons, heart shaped pins, a simple burlap bunting, and a beribboned Happy Valentine's Day sign.

If you'd like to share one nice thing you've done recently or something you've said that brightened someone's day... you're entered. That's it. 

If you're, by any chance, a follower of birdie blue, mention it for another chance.

A random winner will be chosen on Sunday,  February 3rd.
Leaving you plenty of time to get your Valentine's day craft on.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

my father

We lost my father the other day, suddenly and unexpectedly, to Influenza. My sister and I, flew down to Florida to help our mom who was hospitalized with the same illness. All of us, devastated.

A magical man, who brightened any room he entered. Curiosity was his calling card. Always asking questions, and really wanting to hear the answers. In possession of a photographic memory, which served him well in his career as an attorney specializing in intellectual property & patents. It made him a fantastic analyst, a wise source, for everything from politics, the financial markets, religion, science, history and the world at large. 

If you met him, you wouldn't necessarily know these things. He dressed simply, lived modestly, and preferred to spend his time and effort on the things that mattered most, education, family, and saving for that proverbial rainy day. His priorities were crystal clear, his sense of right or wrong, finely honed. His moral compass, perfectly attuned.

His best friend of forty-seven years, my mom, was always number one on his list. When the time came to down-size and think about retirement, what's best for our beautiful mom, his top priority. A house perfectly suited to her needs, should she ever be alone, his goal. 

The grandchildren completely delighted him, and the love affair was mutual. My oldest spent hours discussing math, the second chose him as her sponsor for Confirmation, the third loved writing him poems and drawing him pictures, and my fourth simply adored him. He took a special interest in her health, as of late, accompanying us to doctor's appointments in the city. Always eager to advocate, 
assist, and fix anything and everything.

Dad, I'll miss you. 

'When through one man, a little more love and goodness,
a little more light and truth, comes into the world,
then that man's life has had meaning'
~Father Alfred Delp, SJ

Sunday, January 20, 2013

a favor

A quick hello and a favor to ask...
I was nominated for The Circle of Mom's Top 25 Creative Moms...
If you have a moment to vote for me.........{here}
I'd really appreciate it!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

calendar tea towel, framed

Hello, my friends. I can't believe how fast the first week of 2013 flew by. This time of year always finds me organizing and planning, fighting off the feeling of being overwhelmed. I thought I'd share with you a timely project, that couldn't be simpler. Who doesn't like simple? 

Do you remember the calendar tea towels from long ago? They're unusually well represented at every thrift store, especially from the 1960's - 1970's. Well, a number of designers still produce them annually. Find one you like and...

 It's a simple matter to stretch a tea towel on an artist's ready-made canvas. Most craft store sell them at a  reasonable price, especially if you're able to procure the ubiquitous weekly coupon.

I did two last year, with both a Christmas tea towel and a 2012 calendar. As I'm not planning on displaying the 2012 tea towel again, I'm recycling the canvas for this one.

You'll need:
your preferred tea towel,
 the canvas,
 strong pins,
 an iron,
 some water or ironing spray,
 and big surface on which to work.

If you'd like, you can elect to wash your tea towel and iron it while it's damp. I personally prefer to work with it new, as the manufacturer's sizing and crispness is still intact. 

It helps to iron in a sunny spot. I don't mind ironing if I've a view, and the sun is shining.
Simply iron all of the fold marks out, making it perfectly flat. Lay your tea towel face down on your table, place the canvas on top, and pin into place stretching as you go. Periodically, check to make sure you're happy with the spacing. Could not, be simpler.
I found mine at Cath Kidson. You can find lots of others, here.

Monday, December 31, 2012

new year wishes

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson.

I love this time of year. A clean slate, with a story yet to unfold. While I'm not big on resolutions, I love the idea of trying to make the most of each and every day. Because, let's face it, every day is a gift.

The past year has been a difficult one in many ways, but luckily, the blessings always seem to out number the troubles. Thanks so much for taking the time this year to read my posts, share your thoughts, offer your support, and most importantly, your friendship. I truly appreciate each and every one of you. 

Wishing you a very happy and blessed new year.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

ornament exchange

Hello, my sweet friends. It's been far too long. While events here at the house have been rather fraught the past few weeks, your kind words have helped immensely. I'm slowly getting back into the swing of things...
A friend of mine hosted a Christmas party with an ornament exchange last weekend. Have you ever been to one? You're to bring a wrapped ornament, priced under fifteen dollars. After drawing numbers, you randomly select a wrapped prize in the appropriate order. The other ladies, upon seeing you open your new ornament, have the option of 'stealing' it, if their turn, is after yours. 

I chose to contribute some ornaments from the Smith & Hawken line.  Red wellies, a sparkly owl, and a little acorn shaped birdhouse packaged in a candy-cane striped matchbox. Nestling the ornaments in peppermint candies, made it a little more interesting.

I think the gal who ended up with it, after it had been swiped twice, was pleased. 

Monday, November 26, 2012


We bid a sad good-bye to my wonderful Mother-in-law last week. She died as she lived, with grace and dignity surounded by those she loved.  I can't begin to say enough nice things about hospice. They were wonderful, as was our wonderful aide, Dulce. 

She's sweeter than the fragrances that fill the dell in spring, 
a joy she is above the joys that all the years can bring. 

She's dearer than the dearest friend that I will ever know, 
her prayers ever guide me on no matter where I go.

Her face is furrowed deep with cares, her hair is streaked with gray,
 and rosary beads slip through the hands that first joined mine to pray.

And though the years have dimmed those eyes that were so lustrous fair,
 'tis death alone can take away the love-light shining there.

 As night when kneeling down to pray I thank our Lord above
who was so good to give me my mother's deathless love.

Florence Anne
August 22, 1933 - November 14, 2012

Saturday, November 10, 2012

an explanation

Where, my dear, did October go?

My youngest, unfortunately, started the month off with a bad case of pneumonia. You might recall last October, we had a similar start to the month with the same daughter. Well, this time her fever didn't abate, instead it continued, rising higher and higher each day. After a week and a half of ping-ponging back and forth to the pediatricians office, she spiked a fever of 105.7. Our doctor directed us to head to the emergency room. Once we arrived, the E.R. doctor promptly dispatched us by ambulance to the nearest children's hospital.

Traveling by ambulance through terrible rush hour traffic with the city's sky-line rising dramatically overhead with a very sick little one, is not one trip I'd care to repeat anytime soon. She was seriously ill with complications, but we were definitely in the right hands. A week later, we were able to head home. My other daughters were in good shape, thanks to a lot of help from family and friends. Especially my Mom, I can't thank her enough.

And then, my Father-in-law unexpectedly passed away. 

Calls were made to the immediate family, and a fitting farewell was quickly planned. An upsetting time for sure, but seeing the eighteen grandchildren come together from all parts of the country was very special and a powerful testimony to a wonderful grandfather. He was an incredible man successful, kind, patient, and loving. May he rest in well-deserved peace.

At the Funeral Mass, my oldest daughter gave a reading from a letter of Paul to the Phillippians:

Finally, family,
whatever is true,
whatever is honorable,
whatever is just,
whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely,
whatever is gracious,
if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things.
Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me.
 Then the God of peace will be with you.
Phillipians 4: 4-9.

A day or two following the funeral, we made arrangements to begin Hospice care for my Mother-in-law. We've moved her into our home and we're surrounding her with lots of love while providing much needed care and comfort. It's a privledge to be able to help her.